2015 October

House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church holds free water giveaway

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FLINT (WJRT) - (09/30/15) – Cases of bottled water went fast at a giveaway Wednesday afternoon in Flint.

The House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church on West Carpenter Road had about 700 cases of water to hand out.

A long line of cars stretched around the building, so they began a little early.

The water was gone in about an hour.

So far, the church hasn’t scheduled another giveaway.

Free Water Testing

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FLINT (WJRT) – (09/30/15) – If you have concerns about what may be in your city water, City of Flint officials want you to know you can get your water tested for free.

Mike Glasgow, utilities administrator for the City of Flint Water Plant, tells ABC12 more than 250 people have asked to get their water tested just in the past week.

If you’re worried about Flint treating the water, this fact might give you some peace of mind.

“We don’t do any of the testing here. We’re kind of acting as a middle man just to pay and fill out the all the paperwork for the residents to get this testing done,” Glasgow said.

The Department of Environmental Quality State Drinking Water does the actual testing in Lansing.

Here’s how it works: You call up the city and tell them what you’re concerned about. For example, it’s a certain test that looks for lead and copper in water. Then the city provides a one liter sample bottle and instructions.

When testing for lead, the water needs to sit for six to eight hours in the pipes to get an accurate sample. After filling up the bottle almost to the top, you then bring in the bottle, or schedule to get it picked up.

Then the sample is sent to the independent lab in Lansing. It won’t take any longer than two weeks to get some results.

“The results will come back to us first, usually via email. And then they’ll send a hard copy also. But once I get an email, I can print it out and send it along with a letter of risk, if there’s a high level or risk, and what they can do to negate these risks,” Glasgow said.

Water plant staff tell us the data the city uses to measure lead levels, for example, is not based on these resident samples, but according to what they’ve received from these resident samples, it looks like lead levels are varied from household to household.

City ranked as third most dangerous ‘needs help.’

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Two Mid-Michigan cities have been ranked near the top of America’s most dangerous cities using data from the FBI’s recently released 2014 crime statistics.

Michigan State Police Lt. Commander Tom Kish said Flint needs help.

“We are not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” Kish said.

With a population of less than 100 thousand people Flint ranks as no. 3 as the most violent city in America based on data from the FBI.

Mayor Dayne Walling has been facing this problem ever since he took office and not much has changed.

Homicides are up nearly 70 percent this year.

“Last year we had little bit of an anomaly in terms of overall homicide,” Walling said. “At last count, 43, which is a disturbing number. But there are a lot of other factors that come into play when we talk about these numbers. The least of which are unemployment rates in the city we’re talking about some of the more distressed parts of our community.”

Kish said this is not a battle you win over night, it’s one you win with time and with help from your neighbors.

To read more click here


500 cases of water handed out in giveaway

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Following reports of lead contamination in the water system, a local church is looking to help.

The House of Prayer MBC Outreach Ministry was planning to give away water on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The ministry handed out more than 500 free cases of water to residents who may not be able to afford it.

But the giveaway didn’t take two hours. Instead, they ran out of cases before 5 p.m.

This was House of Prayer’s third time distributing free cases of bottled water to residents this year.

City’s water woes may play big role in upcoming mayoral election

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) – No doubt about it. Water is on the minds of every voter in the upcoming mayoral election in Flint.

“Flint’s water problem is the number one issue that everyone is talking about,” said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.

Numerous problems with Flint River water have plagued the vehicle city since 2014. Now residents are living with high amounts of lead in their tap water.

Many of those people have pinned the blame on Walling including former emergency manager Darnell Early.

In a statement he said he was only implementing the plan laid out by the mayor and city council and said the decision to switch to Flint River water was made long before he became EFM.

Walling disagrees.

“The decision about the flint river was made by prior emergency managers. It was before the time of Darnell Early, he’s accurate on that point. But city council and I were just simply not involved,” Walling said.

Walling’s opponent, Karen Weaver, paints a much different picture.

“He wants to say that it wasn’t his decision to do that,” Weaver said. “Well, if it wasn’t, he sure never spoke out about it not being his decision. He was the one that said it was fine. He was the one that said we could stay with the flint water. He was the one that said brown water was OK to drink.”

With Election Day just weeks away, it won’t be a long wait to see what the voters decide.

Will the city’s water woes doom its incumbent mayor? Or will the people choose him as the one to lead Flint out of this crisis? It all depends on who you ask.

“So when you’re elected to represent the people than do that. Do that because that’s what I plan to do,” Weaver said.

Walling said, “I have a comprehensive plan that’s detailed. That will secure this community’s future and also protect us here now.”

Flint residents have also started a petition to get the Obama Administration involved.

The petition was posted on the White House’s official website on Sept. 28.

“Flint Michigan residents need CLEAN SAFE WATER NOW! Levels of lead are so high that children have lead poisoning. It is unsafe to drink,” the petition reads.

The petition needs 100,000 signatures before Oct. 28.

To read the petition in full click here.

Read more: Click Here

Financial Stability:

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Upon taking office I will thoroughly familiarize myself with every line item in the general fund, every special fund, and every source of revenue. Beyond that I will:

A.) Conduct a forensic audit of the general fund and all special funds to ensure there are no additional hidden financial mishaps or miscues in the city’s coffers.

B.) Meet with the governor to implore him to return the city of Flint to actual home rule as opposed to the current structure which is just another emergency manager at the reigns of city government with the MTAB to back her up.

C.) Meet with every department and division head in city government to advise them that austerity is the rule of the day, and that I will demand a tight and fiscally sound operation of each department and division.

D.) I will convene a committee of local financial experts who will meet at least once monthly, to serve as monitors of the city’s general fund. Down the road

I will retain experts to advise me on how we can completely over haul and right size city government to make it more compatible with our population loss and revenue streams, including consolidating departments, streamlining and combining functions, and trimming fat and excess wherever possible.

Snyder acknowledges mistakes in city’s water troubles

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) – For months, a city’s water supply has been plagued with a foul smell, gross discoloration and now, dangerous levels of lead.

So TV5 wanted to ask the tough questions of Gov. Rick Snyder – after all, it was his appointed emergency manager who oversaw pulling the plug on Detroit.

Does Snyder think it was a mistake?

“In terms of a mistake, what I would say is that we found there are probably things that weren’t as fully understood when that switch was made. And again, it was a switch made with the community,” Snyder said.

Snyder and his administration are quick to point out that the decision was made with support of city leaders at the time.

But for the first time, the governor appeared to acknowledge that increased levels of lead found in children in Flint are directly related to the water supply.

“It appears that lead levels could be higher. Or have increased. What can be done to fix that?” Snyder said.

After the governor slipped out, a member of his communications staff told me there could be an event as early as Friday to unveil the specifics of fixing the Flint water crisis.

But for now, residents wait for any sign of relief coming from Lansing.
Read more: Click Here

Economic Development:

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The combined effect of safe, drinkable water, a strong public safety presence, and attractive neighborhoods, coupled with effective schools, provide a solid foundation for economic development. We have to all understand that economic development of any significance in the city of Flint is going to be a marathon rather than a sprint. Considerable work has to be done in all of the above areas to lure manufacturing concerns to our city. It’s ironic that General Motors in Flint decided to switch to Detroit water rather than the corrosive Flint River water in its manufacturing processes. Water is a major problem that has to be fixed, along with crime, and crumbling neighborhoods.

Small business development in the city of Flint is a smaller bite of the apple that can be more readily accomplished, first by making certain we retain existing small businesses, and, secondly investing more into the development of additional small businesses. When one looks at the major employer in the country, small businesses far surpass large companies in number of employees.

Again, grant money may be a source here, where foundations may be willing to fund innovative approaches to spawning small businesses in our community.

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